boy wearing yellow crew neck shirt and black short
by John Russel Jones

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard made a major donation of shoes earlier this month to nonprofit organization Afrikicks. The charity, which has been collecting and donating shoes to people stricken by extreme poverty in Africa since 2014, is based in Hawthorne, Calif., and gives villagers shoes to ease their daily walk-in-life. 

Having a good pair of shoes is a key part of a child’s success in school and can contribute to higher self-esteem among children, as well as adults. Over 20 million children in Africa are thought to be living daily without access to shoes and temperatures reaching over 100 degrees in certain areas as well as disease and parasites turn a simple walk into a grueling task. 

“Each year our goal is greater than the last, and our buy-in and team look forward to helping those in need start each day on the right foot with a pair of new and/or slightly worn shoes,” said Oumarou Idrissa, Founder/CEO at Afrikicks. “With many in Africa having to walk as a normal means of getting from point A to B, we are grateful to play a small part in setting them up for success in their daily walk.” 

This year Afrikicks is committed to making a difference by providing a pair of new and/or slightly worn, properly fitted shoes to more than 10,000 people. So far more than 170,000 shoes have been donated to communities in Niger, Senegal, and Gambia.

Anyyone can donate to Afrikicks by donating shoes and/or hosting a shoe drive, volunteering to help by packing and labeling boxes, or by making an online, tax-deductible donation at https://afrikicks.org/donate/. Afrikicks will host shoe delivery events in Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, Miami, and other cities. At the end of each campaign, the organization ships a full container to Africa.  

Afrikicks embraces the philosophy called “Ubuntu,” a belief in the universal bond of sharing and the principle of caring for each other’s well-being. It is the acknowledgement of both the rights and the responsibilities of every citizen in promoting individual and societal well-being.